South London Trains: TfL Train Reforms 2016
Last month, TfL (Transport for London) made the game changing announcement that all South London rail services will be brought under their control. In this blog, we’ll investigate the pros and cons of this move, and what it means for South London based rail travellers.
What are the plans to reform South London Trains?
The plans mean that TfL will take control of all South London based trains that run underground, and also those that run over ground. This will take places in various stages, as currently running contracts with private train operators expire. The ultimate plan is for TfL to take control of all Greater and South London Trains, followed by SouthEastern in 2018 and then Southern and Great Northern in 2021.
What do the plans mean?
In essence, TfL are seeking to renationalise the railways. In our eyes, this can only be a good thing for passengers. There are a number of reasons for this:
Firstly, there is the question of fares. While customers cannot expect to see too much of a dip in prices, part of the problem with British rail travel is that so many of the major train operating companies are owned by private entities; who can simply charge as much for their services as they like. Constant rail fare increases, coupled with an increasingly unreliable service, have led to a growing anger from passengers over the years. TfL is aiming to change this.
Secondly, there are the journeys themselves. TfL have promised a shake up and improvement to passenger journeys, and expect to increase the rate of London stations receiving trains by over 67%. This will include services from the likes of Waterloo, Moorgate and Victoria.
TfL have a history of making improvements to services such as this. In 2007, they took over the London Overground service from Watford to Croydon, resulting in a rise of passenger numbers of over 80%.
Reaction to the plans
The decisions have been largely welcomed by the majority of people. Mayor Boris Johnson, who has been campaigning for TfL to take control of other rail companies for the past two years, has labelled the move ‘a massive breakthrough’. However, Boris has also urged caution, and not to expect ‘immediate changes’ to a hugely flawed rail system. Likewise, other consumer based groups have welcomed the move, claiming that they are ‘looking forward to receiving the same service that London Overground customers receive’.
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